The Reintroduction of “Master Builder”

The concept of a "Master Builder" has its roots in ancient civilizations and has evolved over time. Historically, the Master Builder was an individual who possessed a wide range of skills and knowledge in architecture, engineering, and construction. They were responsible for overseeing the entire process of designing and constructing a building or structure, from conception to completion. The Master Builder would often be involved in every aspect, from creating the initial design to coordinating the construction and managing the craftsmen involved.

The Master Builder model differed from the architect + contractor model in that it combined both design and construction responsibilities under one person or team. Here are some reasons why the Master Builder model has been considered advantageous:

1. Seamless Integration: The Master Builder model allows for a seamless integration of the design and construction phases. Since the Master Builder oversees the entire project, there is a better flow of information and communication between the design and construction teams. This can result in improved coordination and fewer errors or discrepancies during the construction process.


2. Design Intent Preservation: With the Master Builder model, the individual or team responsible for the design is also directly involved in the construction. This helps ensure that the original design intent is properly implemented and maintained throughout the construction process. It allows for greater control over the quality of the final product and reduces the likelihood of misinterpretation or miscommunication between the architect and contractor.


3. Efficient Decision-Making: The Master Builder has the authority to make timely decisions during the construction process, which can help avoid delays and keep the project on track. This is because they have a comprehensive understanding of the design, construction techniques, and potential challenges that may arise. In contrast, the architect+ contractor model may involve multiple parties, leading to potential delays indecision-making or disagreements between the architect and contractor.


4. Accountability and Responsibility: The Master Builder model promotes accountability and responsibility for the entire project. Since the Master Builder is involved from start to finish, they take full owner ship of the project's success and any issues that may arise. This integrated approach can enhance the sense of responsibility and motivation, leading to better overall project outcomes.


It's important to note that both the Master Builder and the architect + contractor models have their strengths and weaknesses. The choice between these models depends on various factors such as the size and complexity of the project, the preferences of the client, the local construction practices, and the availability of skilled professionals. In modern times, the construction industry has evolved, and various project delivery methods have emerged, including design-build and construction management, which combine elements of both models to suit different project requirements.

Image by Trevor B Parker -